I once almost took a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction class early on in my mindfulness practice. I say “almost” because when I went to meet the teacher and I told her I wanted to take the class because I wasn’t sure if I was meditating right. She didn’t respond. She didn’t tell me what meditation was or if I was doing it correctly. She didn’t even ask me what I thought meditation was.
Now that I am a mindfulness meditation teacher and have been a practitioner of mindfulness meditation for over 11 years I can tell you what a better response would have been from my almost teacher many years ago, she should have fallen out laughing. Yep.
Why? Because my working definition of mindfulness based meditation is “paying attention| in Awareness| to the present moment|.” And when I was talking to my almost teacher I was “paying attention in Awareness to the present moment.” So I was practicing mindfulness meditation already. But that wasn’t even what I was really asking her. What I was really asking was, what does “follow the breath” really mean; or more accurately; was I “following the breath” correctly? Answer. Yes. And that is why she should have fallen out laughing, because following the breath is the most natural thing you do every day and everyone is an expert at following the breath! Although in mindfulness there are no experts — beginner’s mind. Subject of a future blog.
How do I know this? You are an expert at following the breath because, If you weren’t an expert you wouldn’t be alive. Which is why it is now a funny question to me.
I invite you to experiment on how to follow the breath. Some folks may tell you to put your hands on your belly and feel the sensation of the breath on your belly as you breathe in and the sensation of the breath on your belly as you exhale. This works best when laying down on a bed or on a mat on the floor, wearing comfortable clothing. But for me, that isn’t the only way I meditate. I also meditate standing in line waiting for my turn at something, or sitting at the computer, or on a park bench or walking down the street. So, the hands on the belly thing with a deep breath is a little unnatural for me and also wouldn’t be comfortable in those situations.
What is important is noticing the sensation of the breath entering and leaving your body and just accepting it as it is.
To practice you can do this right now. Notice the sensation of your left foot whatever it is. And make sure you are half smiling. (I bet you thought I was going to bring you to your breath!) If you are sitting or standing this works exceptionally well. Just notice the sensation of your left foot as it touches the ground. Whatever you feel, it doesn’t matter. Just notice the sensation. Half smiling.
Okay. Now. Lift your dominant hand (for me it’s my left hand) and gently place your hand in front of your nose, or under your nostrils, and let it rest there for 3 breaths, breathe like you normally do, and add half smiling. Pay attention to the sensation of your breathing. As you breathe in through your nose, pay attention to how it feels, and as you breathe out through your nose, pay attention| to how it feels. Feel the sensation of the breath on your hand as you breathe normally in a non-judgmental| way. That’s it. You are practicing mindfulness meditation and now know how to follow the breath. See, I told you — you already knew how.
Practice this often 24/7 breath 3x half smiling. Mindfulness is Home. I wish you peace and great happiness today and always.
Cindi Silva Communication Coach
how to follow the breath| follow the breath| what does follow the breath mean| the breath| follow| meditation| mindfulness| course| jon kabat-zinn| MBSR| learn how to| best| Youtube| best| videos| tapes| expert| teachers| courses| greater San Francisco Bay Area| Castro Valley| Marin County| Fremont| articles| top ten| mindfulness meditation| what is| how to| Cindi Silva| Cindy Silva| eckhart tolle| best ellen videos| best eckart tolle videos| best jon kabat-zinn| best eckart tolle|